Diabetes ups risk and mortality of breast and colon cancer

by Bruce Sylvester – Diabetic patients have an increased risk of developing breast and colon cancer and an increased risk of death from these cancers, researchers reported on Sept. 27, 2013 at 2013 European Cancer Congress (ECC2013).

“Our meta-analysis is the first to combine incidence and death from breast and colon cancer, while excluding all other causes of death. We have investigated the link between diabetes and the risk of developing as well as the risk of dying from these cancers,” said Kirstin De Bruijn, MD, from the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Dr De Bruijn and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of data from 20 relevant clinical trials enacted between 2007 and 2012, involving more than 1.9 million subjects with breast or colon cancer, with or without diabetes.

They found that diabetic subjects had a 23% increased risk of developing breast cancer and a 38% increased risk of dying from it when compared to non-diabetic subjects. Diabetic subjects had a 26% increased risk of developing colon cancer and a 30% increased risk of dying from it when compared to non-diabetic subjects.

Dr De Bruijn added, “Our meta-analysis, which is unique since it looks at the risks for breast and colon cancer while excluding all other causes of death, provides stronger evidence for the association between diabetes and the risk of developing and dying from these cancers. We want to make people more aware of this problem and we hope that prevention campaigns regarding obese and diabetic patients will focus on highlighting this increased risk.”

Professor Hans-Joerg Senn, scientific director at the Tumor and Breast Centre ZeTuP, St Gallen, Switzerland, commented, “The message from the Erasmus Medical Center is disturbing and highly important, for the medical community, as well as for the public and politicians. It highlights once more the importance of the negative interactions between lifestyle, metabolism, overweight and certain frequent types of cancers, such as here between diabetes, obesity and breast cancer as well as colon cancer. It is time for increased and more effective information and prevention campaigns, especially in the economically developed world, where caloric abundance is prevalent.”